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Podcast Production House Novel Raises Millions And Sets Its Sights On TV And Film.


The podcast market continues to draw investment dollars. The podcast production company Novel has just raised $6 million (£5 million) from the growth-focused investment firm VGC Partners. The U.K-based Novel, which has recruited several executives from U.S.-based audio companies, says it plans to use the funding to form more strategic partnerships and expand the company’s lineup of original series. It will also look to develop original IP content for television and film adaptations.


Founded in 2019 by CEO Sean Glynn and co-owned with Chief Content Officer Max O'Brien and Managing Director Matt O'Mara, Novel has produced podcasts including Call Me Mother, The Superhero Complex and Best Song ever with Charlie XCX.


Novel has also struck UK-first deals with podcasting networks including iHeartMedia, Wondery and Gimlet, while also producing series for the BBC, The Financial Times, Google and The Premier League to become the biggest independent podcast company in Europe.


“Now the time is right to take the skills we’ve honed working with industry-leading partners and apply them to content we fully own,” Glynn said in a statement. “We’ve recruited a highly experienced international team to deliver a rich and varied slate of original shows. The launch of our own originals network is an exciting new step for Novel and in VGC we’ve found a partner that truly believes in our content and our vision.”


The podcasts produced by Novel so far have been long-form narrative series and investigative journalism. It says the quality of that work has attracted industry-leading talent on both sides of the Atlantic. Its team of roughly 50 employees includes Executive Creative Director Julie Shapiro (formerly VP of Editorial at PRX & Radiotopia), Creative Director of Production Austin Mitchell (formerly Senior Producer at The New York Times and Gimlet) and Head of TV and Film Neil Krishnan (formerly Director of Creative Acquisitions at Universal Studio Group).


Novel said last year when it struck a three-year deal with iHeartMedia to produce a slate of eleven iHeartRadio Original podcasts that it also wanted a bigger reach in the U.S. podcast marketplace. Novel has also signed with UTA to explore opportunities for the podcast studio in the television and film space, as well as look for other audio opportunities in the U.S. and globally beyond its alliance with iHeart.


Novel has achieved some of its best success with narrative podcasts such as Harsh Reality, which explored the horrors of reality TV and reached No. 1on the Apple Podcast chart, and the investigative journalism series The Bellingcat Podcast. Those successes and the overall growth of podcast listening – eMarketer forecasts podcast listeners worldwide will reach 504.9 million by the end of 2024 – made Novel an appealing investment for VGC.


“We see huge opportunity for Novel in the creation of premium original content IP and particular potential in the adaptation of these shows into TV and film,” said Dan Rookwood, VGC Operating Partner & Head of Brand. “We were blown away by the pipeline of ideas that Novel has lined up and we’re excited that our investment will now enable so many of them to go into production. You heard it here first. And you’ll be seeing it on screens next.”


As a growth capital investor, VGC Partners typically bridges the gap between venture capital and private equity – typically investing between £5m and £10m to support digital media, tech and consumer companies. This investment in Novel builds on VGC’s experience of backing IP- and content-rich businesses with the quality and cultural relevance to have longevity and to translate across formats and continents.

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